Archive for the ‘Baltimore Ravens’ Category


Michael Oher’s forehead furrowed, and his sharp eyebrows, hanging heavily over his eyes, pointed to the bridge of his nose. His eyelids quickly closed and opened and his eyeballs rolled across the roof of his eyes. He mumbled words of anger under his breath. He’d just committed another false start against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers when the Ravens were trying to move the ball downfield. A former first-round selection, he was supposed to be reliable in big games like these. Not to mention, he knew the snap count.

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It’s two plays into the Atlanta Falcons-Baltimore Ravens Week 2 preseason game, and there’s already a flag coming from the sideline. As always, it’s yellow, and it’s illegal contact by a young Ravens defensive back. After the call by the head referee, all but inside linebacker Daryl Smith turn their attention to the line of scrimmage. Smith turns away from it and talks to safety Michael Huff.

To those who haven’t reached for their beer and are watching the crowd of players hovered over the 20-yard line, they’re seeing Smith do what they probably consider a Ray Lewis impression. That is, communicating with teammates to make sure everyone’s on the same page. This is what it’s going to be all about for Smith, who is the successor to arguably the greatest middle linebacker to have ever played in the NFL.¬†Everything he does will come back to what Lewis did for the Ravens in years past. They’re going to be compared at all times, but here’s the kicker: he’s better than Lewis was last year.

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The mass Baltimore post-Super Bowl exit was mostly concentrated on the defensive side of the ball. But one pretty important receiver is gone, and the primary tight end is out for the year too. Ruh roh?

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He can be picked out from the group of defensive linemen hovering over the line of scrimmage before the snap. Whereas his teammates are disproportionate throughout their body in a way that only makes sense in the football landscape, Chris Canty’s a svelte 6’7″ and 317 pounds.

He’s lean and muscular, with veins going down his forearms and under his taped wrists and palms, which lay flat on the grass as he crouches in a four-point stance. He looks like a converted basketball power forward, and when the play begins, he moves like one, too. He’s one of the league’s most unappreciated freak’s of nature, and he’s also the new defensive end in¬†the Baltimore Ravens’ 3-4 defense.

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I probably should have just called this the Darren McFadden preview.

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There’s this thought circulating that the Baltimore Ravens are trying to replace Ed Reed. Reed, who left for the Houston Texans in free agency, can’t be replaced nor do the Ravens want to replace him specifically; they want to replace their entire defense of years past.

Albeit successful, the Ravens defense was a bit stale at times, lacking the multiplicity of some of the NFL’s best defenses, hence why they appeared unstable. They were able to get away with their staleness because of Reed’s unusual ability to quickly cover real estate and cover up mistakes, but now things are changing. Now they have Michael Huff and Matt Elam manning the two safety positions, both of whom are now interchangeable in their defense.

That versatility is precisely why the Ravens are going to be a more dynamic and potentially better defense than in years past, even without Reed.

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I’ve made note of this a few times here in the early days of June, but sometimes it’s just so NFL offseason how quickly language gets deciphered and a new meaning is created. Often, guys like me are responsible for breaking the telephone (sorry) as we do our best to interpret meaning with the little information we’re given. So do us a favor, players, coaches, and general managers of the NFL, and try to speak with clarity foremost in mind? Thanks.

Oh, what’s that Ed Reed? You have something contradictory to say?

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